This week’s flash fiction challenge is courtesy of Chuck Wendig. I had 1,000 words to incorporate the following: Weird Tales, Besieged by the enemy!, Beneath the Sea, An Ancient Curse. Enjoy!
“Captain, there’s something that demands your attention.” The young seaman saluted neatly as he waited for his captain’s response.
“Can’t someone else deal with it?” The Captain didn’t even look up from the stack of papers that filled her small desk.
“No ma’am. The Bridge requested you specifically.”
Captain Mariana sighed and rose from the hard metal chair. “Alright, lead on sailor.”
It took longer than Seaman Anderson would have liked to maneuver through the tight passageways that led from the Captain’s office to the Bridge. Even after two months on board, the confined nature of the sub still left him feeling claustrophobic and it was with a sigh of relief that he finally emerged into the relative expanse of the Bridge.
“Captain on Deck!” Everyone within the room stood with a clamber and saluted, an action which the Captain waved aside with one hand.
“So, what was so important that you had to send a dog to drag me away from my paperwork?”
Anderson’s mouth dropped, but he said nothing.
“This, ma’am.” The Lieutenant in command said with a wave towards one of the small portholes. “We just entered the Triangle an hour ago. I fear we’re going to have to place our search and rescue plans on hold.” Anderson didn’t have to move from his spot to ascertain what had caught the crew’s attention – an eerie red glow seemed to be pulsing through the porthole.
“Red sky at night; sailor’s delight. Red in the morning; sailor’s warning.” Captain Mariana muttered to herself as she stared through the porthole.
“Respectfully, ma’am, then what does a red sea at noon signify?” The crew turned to stare, mouths agape, at Anderson’s insubordination, but the Captain merely smiled.
“It means war, Seaman.”
Although nobody laughed, Anderson knew that this must be some kind of ritual hazing of the new crew. Frankly, he had expected something like this weeks ago. “War against whom, ma’am? The mermaids?”
When the Captain whirled to face him, Anderson knew he had said something wrong. “What do you know about such things?”
“Only what I’ve seen in Disney films, ma’am.” Surely this was part of the hazing, although the Captain might be taking it a bit too far. “You know, the one where they sing all the time, except for the one who has to give up her voice to find true love?”
The Captain laughed and motioned Anderson towards the porthole. “Is that what you think you see outside?”
“But when the Seaman looked through the porthole, all he saw were horrible green-skinned merfolk with sharp teeth, holding spears that glowed red and gold. The sub’s torpedoes could not slow them and they swarmed the submarine in mere moments, spears able to pierce even the thickest of steel.”
The Cruise Director stopped and regarded his shivering audience of youngsters with satisfaction. Horror Hour was almost complete, and he would need to hustle to make it to the costume competition on the Lido Deck, but he took the time to enjoy the terrified noises of his young audience.
“But if they destroyed the sub, how do you know what happened?” One of the older ones asked, clearly feigning bravery for his younger sister.
The Director turned on the glowing prop that he had been holding behind his back and brandished it towards the boy. “Because I was one of the ones on the attack!” He shouted with a malicious laugh.
The room soon emptied and the Director chuckled to himself as he walked along the deck towards his next obligation. Children were so gullible, he almost couldn’t stand it. He had to admit that the cruise company’s idea to run a Halloween cruise over the cursed Bermuda Triangle had been brilliant – half of the passengers were already on edge and easier than usual to scare.
“Red sea at noon, indeed.” He muttered to himself as he climbed the metal stairs up to the next deck.
If he had bothered to pay attention or look down, he might have heard the enemy crawling slowly up the side of the boat or seen the red glow underneath the ship in time to sound the alarm.